Peru is well known as an incredible travel destination for tourists worldwide. No matter what you are craving for, it would be satiated for sure, making your 2 weeks in Peru worthwhile. The country offers a wide variety of culture, history, nature, and adventure to last a lifetime! Here is a 2-week Peru itinerary to get the most out of your vacation in this fascinating South American country.
Before we start, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. The first is to plan and book ahead for each of your destinations and Peru flights. Many places, especially the Inca Trail, need to be booked in advance since only a few tourists can visit per day.
Feel free to swap out places or adjust times depending on your schedule and interests. Maybe you need to clear out a portion of your itinerary for a bit of rest. No one experiences a trip the same way, and make sure you follow an itinerary that will leave you as fulfilled as possible!
Day 1 – Lima
Your first day will begin when you land in Lima! If you want to rest and explore the city, there is no shortage of things to see in the largest city in Peru. If you are looking for a place to stay for the night, the districts of Miraflores and Barranco are good, safe districts to look for a hotel.
You can enjoy your first sight of Inca Ruins by visiting the Huaca Pucllana in the Miraflores District. The Huaca Pucllana is a massive pyramid of adobe and clay, a stark contrast to the sprawling city.
The Museo Larco in the Pueblo Libre district is one of the best museums to visit in Lima. This privately-owned museum contains many pre-Colombian art pieces such as vases, earrings, and crowns. It is also quite famous for its pre-Colombian erotic pottery!
Day 2 – Ica
On the second day, it is time to pack up and leave Lima for Ica. Some buses run hourly from Lima to Ica, so try to pick an early schedule, or you can hire a private transfer to go there. The trip to Ica will take around four to six hours.
Once you arrive at Ica, you can rest from your 2-week Peru trip and relax at the Tacama Winery. Ica is known for its sun-kissed wineries; Tacama is one of the best ones in the region. After eating at their Tambo Restaurant, you can then take a tour of Tacama. Here, you will be able to sample their fine wine and learn more about their production processes and historical architecture. The tour will take around two hours.
When the afternoon starts to grow late, you can take a short taxi ride to Huacachina, a unique oasis surrounded by massive dunes. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and it offers places to stay for the night. Sandboarding and dune buggies are exciting activities to do in the dunes!
Day 3 – Paracas National Reserve
On day 3, it is time to head north to the Paracas National Reserve! The bus trip going to Paracas takes around one hour.
The Paracas National Reserve is a desert-coastal area with intriguing beaches and rock formations. Wildlife watchers will surely enjoy their visit to the nearby Ballestas Islands. The craggy islands have wildlife such as sea lions, seals, turtles, penguins, pelicans, and many other types of sea birds!
A must-see beach here is the Playa Roja, whose shoreline has dark red sand. The national park also has archaeological sites of the pre-Inca Paracas culture.
After this, you can take a trip back to Lima, where you can rest for the night.
Day 4 – Cusco
On day 4, it’s time to go to the mountainous Andes. The flight from Lima to Cusco takes about one hour. When you get to Cusco, you’ll have some time to explore. Remember not to overexert yourself on your first day in the Andes! Altitude sickness is a big problem, and getting sick during your trip can be a real downer. Take time to adjust to the high altitude of Cusco, and make sure to stay hydrated. One way to help with altitude sickness is taking some local Coca Tea.
While you’re resting in the ancient capital, one good place to visit is the San Blas district! Known as the artisan district, San Blas is home to many historical Peruvian artists and their families. Art lovers will be pleased to explore the artist showcases and museums.
The Museo De Art Precolombino is a large museum in Cusco that houses many pre-Colombian artworks. There are also many artisanal shops for you to find your ideal souvenirs. Additionally, you will find many quaint coffee shops for you to relax in, and the San Blas Observatory offers one of the best views of the city!
Cusco Cathedral is another place that is easy to visit. It is a Gothic-Renaissance building constructed out of old Inca buildings. The Peruvian artists created art based on their interpretation, leading to unique takes on Christian art. The last supper involves eating a guinea pig (a popular Inca livestock), and carved jaguar heads adorn the cathedral doors.
Day 5 – Cusco and the Sacred Valley (Maras and Moray)
While you continue to adjust and prepare yourself for the Inca Trail, it’s good to exercise your body a bit to the new climate. In the morning, you can walk around and see more of the beautiful city of Cusco.
The Mercado Central de San Pedro is a great place to visit, where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables or try out local food. The sprawling market also has a lot of textiles and souvenirs. All in all, the Mercado Central de San Pedro is for those who want to experience the local life in Cusco.
If you want something sweet, you can go to the ChocoMuseo instead. ChocoMuseo has a free museum you can visit to learn more about chocolate history and production. It also offers chocolate workshops such as the bean-to-bar workshop! This two-hour workshop will teach you to create chocolates from cacao beans and try out Mayan and Conquistador drinks.
After this, you can then head out to Maras in the Sacred Valley. The trip from Cusco to Maras takes around one and a half hours. At Maras, you’ll be able to see the Maras Salt Mines, watery terraces where pre-Colombian societies harvested salt. Until now, these salt ponds are still used!
While you can take a ride to the agricultural ruins of Moray, you could also hike there. The two to three-hour hike can prepare you for the Inca Trail, helping you to adjust to the high altitude.
Once you have visited the two sites and purchased some local salt, you can head back to Cusco to take a good night’s rest.
Day 6-10 – Five-Day Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
For the next five days of your 2-week Peru itinerary, you’ll be hiking up the fabled Inca Trail heading towards Machu Picchu! There are other ways of getting to Machu Picchu such as through either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike, Salcantay Trek, Lares Route, and Vilcambra Trail, to name a few. But the Inca Trail is the most popular. The only way to trek through the Inca Trail is by joining a travel group or company. This way, your hike will be organized for you along with your permit. The specific itinerary will depend on the tour company of your choice, but the decision of which Inca Trail trek is on you.
There are many different Inca Trail treks, depending on the number of days you hike. A four-day hike is the usual Inca Trail hike, where you get the complete experience. Going on a five-day trek, however, is recommended.
Adding an extra day on the trail offers many benefits. Firstly, since you’re on a different schedule, you’ll be able to leave at a different time than the four-day trekkers, making your trek much more peaceful and less populated. You will also use different campsites from the busy four-day trail.
The five-day hike is also less rushed than the four-day hike. Not only will you have more time to take in the ruins and views of the fabled Inca Trail, but it’s also less taxing physically. Having that extra day will give you more time to adjust to the altitudes you’ll encounter along the trail. And lastly, you’ll have more time to visit and see Machu Picchu! There will also be fewer people at Machu Picchu when you arrive, allowing you to get better pictures.
Given how life-changing a trek through the Inca Trail can be and how precious those permit slots are, adding another day is worth it for a fuller experience.
Day 11 – Puno
On Day 11, it’s finally time to climb even higher as you leave Cusco to head towards Puno and Lake Titicaca. Puno is the city at the coast of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. You can ride either a bus or train to Puno, the latter taking around seven hours while the former taking around 10.5 hours. Once you reach Puno, it’ll probably be early afternoon.
Mirador Puma Uta is an observatory to get a complete view of the lake and the city. The Mirador El Condor is also a great viewpoint if you want to get the blood pumping into your legs. You can also visit La Casa del Corregidor, a bright yellow building that acts as an art gallery and café bar. It’s a great place to rest and perhaps grab a bite to eat after the long trip from Cusco.
Day 12 – Lake Titicaca, Puno Region
On the twelfth day, you have the whole day to explore the lake and its various islands! One must-visit is the man-made floating islands of the Uros people. Taquile island is also a wonderful island to visit. The quaint island is home to the Taquileños, masters of textile weaving and clothing knitting. Their handicrafts are known as one of the finest quality in Peru.
In the afternoon, you can take a one-hour drive to the shores of Lake Umayo and visit Sillustani. Sillustani is a pre-Inca cemetery made by the Aymara people.
Once you get back to Puno, it’s time to start the night journey to Arequipa. A trip by bus will take around 6 hours, so make sure to eat some dinner, grab a pillow, and settle down for the travel ahead.
Day 13 – Arequipa
Once you get to Arequipa, it’s time to visit the famous Colca Canyon, one of Peru’s most visited tourist destinations! Most tours leave very early for the Condor flights, so make sure you get a good rest during your travel. The Colca Canyon is around 4 hours away from Arequipa. There are taxi services around Arequipa if you’re not part of a tour. It is best to arrive at Condor’s Cross by around 8:00 am to get a chance to see the soaring Andean Condors. After this, you can explore more of the Colca Canyon.
Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the expanse and depths of the park. There are many hiking tours offered there, with different routes that you can take to reach the Uyo-Uyo ruins. Visiting the towns and villages of Chivay and Yanque is a great way to experience the local culture. After a tiring day of exploring the canyon, there are multiple thermal baths to relax in.
You can then take the trip back to Arequipa for the night.
Day 14 – Arequipa – Lima
In the morning, you can explore the second-largest city in Peru. Arequipa’s Plaza de Armas is a sight to behold, and they have multiple buildings to explore, such as the Basilica Cathedral of Arequipa and the La Recoleta Convent Museum. The convent museum houses a variety of historical sections including pre-Colombian artifacts, the Amazon museum, religious art, a recreation of convent life, and a vast library.
After you’ve wandered through the city, it’s time to take the one-hour flight back to Lima. You’ll have some time to spare to rest and check out anything else in the city. Some examples are Museo de Arte Colonial Pedro de Osma, which houses colonial art, the Santo Domingo Church and Monastery, and the Circuito Magico Del Agua water and light show.
A trip to Peru is sure to be a memory that you’ll always keep in your heart. Just remember to stay safe, don’t overexert yourself, and take your time to explore the wonders Peru has to offer!
Author bio: Julien Mordret is the guy behind Exploration Junkie. He loves to share his passion and experiences with travel, nature, and photography. He’s crazy about all things and his explorations are fueled by his unlimited curiosity.